Thinking back, do you remember a time in your career that you felt you couldn’t do something that you were asked or needed to?
Perhaps you managed to, but how long did you spend thinking or worrying about it? You might have avoided the situation, maybe, as a result, you missed out on an opportunity? Utilising the power of coaching could be the solution to all these problems.
Fear of failure
Most of us feel uncomfortable when we are asked to do something new or different, and all change causes some level of anxiety. In the workplace, this anxiety might be attributed to fear of failure. In 2020 (pre-pandemic), People Management shared a study from IE University, VU University in Amsterdam and Nyenrode University that found “40% of the 1,000 employees surveyed about their confidence levels at work reported spending between 20 and 40 per cent of their time worried about making mistakes”.
Think about how your employees’ productivity and your organisation’s profitability could be boosted if the 40% of employees in your workplace who are worried about making mistakes had coaching to overcome their fears or worries and became confident in their abilities and work output. For some this might be the fear of being judged or measured, for others, it could be the pressure of not meeting their own perfectionist standards or worrying that they cannot please their boss. Perhaps the employee has a (deep-seated) self-limiting belief about themselves that makes them doubt their own ability.
Moreover, when freed from unnecessary stress and worry, these employees have time to be more creative. For years tech companies have been creating an employee experience (such as work environment and free meals) where they can focus on being creative and innovative and develop these ideas into the next gadget or functionality to disrupt the market and take the business forward.
Essentially, there is a reason why a person lacks confidence and self-belief and coaching gives one on one time to open up and talk to identify why. Once the reason has been uncovered it can be understood in greater depth and the coachee creates strategies, techniques and new ways of thinking to overcome what was blocking them from being their confident self. Coaching empowers employees to create their own solutions and be fully accountable for their decisions and commitment to their personal development. This takes time, practice and self-discipline. Their coach is a trusted accountability partner that supports and encourages the coachee to attain their goals.
The confidence myth
So the coachee has removed their blocks, how do they become confident? It may come as a surprise to some that confidence is a skill that is learned rather than an innate talent or gift a person is blessed with. A person can be trained in techniques modelled on confident people such as body language, tone and pitch of voice, learning how to manage worries and be positive. Each of us is unique and we each learn, practice, refine, redevelop and grow our own ways to be confident and shine.
Personalised one to one coaching gives coachees the power to craft and develop their unique confident best self. To do so, they learn techniques such as neurolinguistic programming, for example, visualisation and using language patterns to think and speak like a confident, persuasive person.
Supporting talent management
Coaching is particularly powerful for employees newly promoted to managerial positions because they are prepared to mentally handle the transition from colleague to line manager. These talented employees have excelled in their individual contributor role(s) with the potential to become successful managers, but have limited or no line management or team leadership experience.
Without support such as coaching, the new manager may not unlock their potential. A manager who lacks confidence can be easily detected by their team and this can lead to disrespect, being undermined and other team problems. This can lead to a downward spiral of self-belief and confidence for the manager and your talented high potential employee becomes a retention risk.
Coaching can help your talent become even greater and strengthen your talent bench for succession planning key roles in your organisation.
The power of coaching for high performers and executives
Long hours, high pressure and politics are some of the pressures high performers and executives face and an empathic coach can support their mental health. Executives can open up to and talk confidentially about their feelings and worries with their coach. Many small to medium organisations do not have in-house HR departments or internal employees with the coaching skills to deliver this service. An external coach is well placed to provide non-judgmental active listening and space for the executive to think and focus on the priority areas on the top of their mind, which might be problematic because of their own personal blocks or fears. Again strategies are agreed and a coaching tool put in place to unlock the executive’s potential to overcome the challenges they are faced with and be their best confident self.
A lifetime commitment to personal development
Personal development is a continuous process and coaching has the power to support your employees as needed through their life and career stages when they need support to be successful professionally and personally.
Michael Doolin created Clover HR with the ambition of demonstrating the value the HR function can add to SME businesses.